When it comes to a real estate attorney vs title company, what do you need to know during the real estate transaction process? Both of these real estate entities take part in a critical role within the real estate closing process – doing the research behind the history of your new property to make sure that your purchase can actually occur.
So, as you are in the middle of finishing off this critical purchase in your life, what do you need to know when it comes to the “real estate attorney vs title company” question? In this LemonBrew blog post, we’ll break down the role of these two entities in the real estate process.
What is a Real Estate Attorney?
This one’s pretty simple: a real estate attorney is a professional lawyer that helps you with legal questions and legal advice. They’re a key part of the real estate closing and the entire process of buying or selling a home.
The best real estate attorney (either from a law firm or a solo practice) helps guide you through what is a very complicated process, providing help on everything from the title search to estate planning and restrictive covenants.
When hiring an attorney, be sure to check out their background, explore any references, and make sure you have a good “feel” for their style. It’s a long and winding road for all of these areas of real estate; the right real estate attorney is a much-needed helper.
The second question we need to tackle is the idea of “what is a title company?” Let’s take a step back into the real estate process to address this.
Buying a piece of property is a complex transaction, especially when it comes to one critical area: the title search and the property’s history. In order to actually purchase the piece of property that you’re interested in, proof has to exist that the owner can actually sell it to you.
Sounds pretty cut-and-dried, right? After all, they wouldn’t be selling the property if they didn’t actually own it, right? However, things are not that simple. When someone looks back at the history of the house, title issues can come up. These complications can throw a massive wrench in the real estate closing process – on some occasions, even calling off the sale altogether. Some of the more common problems that come up are:
- Unexpected heirs. This happens more than you think. Somewhere down the line, an owner took possession of the property after a relative passes away – when, in actuality, the piece of property got willed to a different member of the family. This development could jeopardize the sale.
- Forgeries or impersonations. There are people out there looking to take advantage of others! You never know when an impersonator or a forgery disrupted the process – especially with all the extensive paperwork a real estate transaction requires. It’s not a common problem, but it certainly does occur.
- Errors in the public record. As hard as it is to believe, local, state, and federal governments do err every so often. A few things out of place in their crucial, official documents could cause significant problems when it comes to the real estate transaction.
- Debts or liens on the property. When buying a property, you may get more than you bargained for – quite literally. All of those debts or liens on the property (for example, something owed to a contractor or a service) could transfer over from a prior owner. After shelling out thousands for your property, do you really want to tack on more bills?
- Easements or other owners. You never know what could surprise in a title search. An “easement” could pop up, showing that some other party has access to the land you’re buying. Or, unexpected owners (a subject of a divorce, for example) could suddenly place a claim on the property.
The role of a title company? Before the purchase sale gets completed, the title company performs something called a “title search” on the real estate transaction. The trained experts from the title company perform an extensive, line-by-line search of the house’s history – going over everything in the “chain of ownership” to make sure that the current owner actually has the right to sell the house to you. It’s a complicated and extensive process, but it’s necessary to ensure that everything goes smoothly with the transaction.
Another important note: title insurance plays a role in this process, as well. Usually mandated by the mortgage lender, title insurance helps protect the lender (and all of the money they’re putting out) if something catastrophic happens in the title search that causes the transaction to fall apart.
So, when it comes to the real estate attorney vs a title company question – how will it apply to your transaction?
The plain and simple answer is it varies, but you may need the services of both. A lot of this will depend on the state you live in; some states mandate that a real estate attorney must put their stamp on the real estate closing. Along with that, you’ll have to enlist a title company in order to do a title search, as required by the mortgage lender.
Be sure you ask many questions along the way – to trusted advisors, friends and family, and different real estate entities – to make sure you get the right advice.
Still have questions when it comes to the real estate attorney vs title company breakdown? If so, LemonBrew Abstract is the place to go! LemonBrew Abstract provides the innovative title and escrow services homebuyers need for a smooth transaction.
Along with that – buyers and sellers (and anyone else interested in the real estate process) should visit LemonBrew for everything real estate – from matching with a real estate agent to the purchase sale to the title search and much more. It’s the perfect website for all of your real estate questions.
Another thing to know? If you’re looking for anything real estate – selling your home, buying a house, or any other aspect of the industry or profession – don’t forget to visit our LemonBrew blog. On the LemonBrew blog, you’ll find engaging, entertaining, and informative articles on everything real estate. These articles include “The Best Real Estate Agents Know These Four Things,” “5 Ways to Manage Your Finances in an Uncertain Time,” and “How Long Does it Take to Close on a House?” Come take a look and see how we can help inform your unique real estate journey!